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open mind, empty stomach

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On April 16, the Center for Food Safety opened up shop in Honolulu with the goal of passing a law requiring GMO labeling. The last couple years have seen a healthy conversation on GMO labeling, especially here in Hawaii. The issue has been a lightning rod, polarizing the community and gaining national attention. It’s a discussion that continues to unfold.

Lorena Farrell, Executive Director of the Big Island Farm Bureau, registered the Hawaii Center for Food Safety as a nonprofit organization with the Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs on April 3 and purchased the domains hawaiicenterforfoodsafety.org and .com on April 16.

The official Facebook page of the “Hawaii Center for Food Safety” makes it clear that they are not in any way associated with the Center for Food Safety. Under the technical banner of the loudest voice in opposition to GMOs, the page management shares links from biotech corporations.

Amid immediate outcry, including from the Center for Food Safety’s Hawaii office Executive Director Ashley Lukens, I wanted to help ensure that people engaging with the “Hawaii Center for Food Safety” know who is behind the branding.

Registered as the Hawaii Center for Food Safety (who magically appeared as the Center for Food Safety came to Hawaii and randomly picked the same name), Lorena Farrell is disseminating information counter to the Center for Food Safety’s mission. I shared two links to the official Hawaii Center for Food Safety Facebook page, one for the DCCA registration and one for the websites. I also posted the links as comments on the few other posts on the site, which was “liked” by under 30 people at the time.

Every interaction I had on the Hawaii Center for Food Safety Facebook page was deleted by its page management and I’ve been blocked from posting further.

People I admire and respect stand on both sides of the issue. It strikes me as odd for people that get along so well otherwise to have relationship-altering differences over something of this magnitude; we are talking about adding language to a label. The public deserves a transparent, legitimate discussion to arrive at a fair and scientific conclusion.   

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